One day in late 1959 or 1960 -- dates aren't totally clear in declassified documents -- a crack team of four CIA agents worked through the night in stocking feet taking apart a kidnapped Soviet Lunik spacecraft without removing it from its crate. They photographed every part and documented every construction element, then perfectly reassembled the whole thing without leaving a trace. It was a daring bit of espionage at the early years of the space race. Intended to level the playing field between two international superpowers, it was a heist that risked turning the cold war hot. The full story is pretty amazing, as are the implications of this daring heist. Read more on my blog, Vintage Space, over at Popular Science!
And there's loads more space history on Vintage Space, so check it out!
My book, Breaking the Chains of Gravity, is now available for (pre)order on Amazon! UK release is October 22 and US release is January 12, which I think is also the Canadian, Australian, and Indian release.
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